By Sarah Bonner
An aerodynamic helmet is an easy way to get some “free speed.” It can also give you a winning edge when you’re looking to save time in an Ironman or gain a slight advantage in a shorter road time trial. Plus, they look really cool. Before you buy, however, remember it’s not all about being aero.
- Safety: Every helmet has one main job and that is to keep you safe. Only buy safety approved helmets. Since different countries have different governing bodies for safety standards, ensure your helmet has approval from some regulatory body by looking for stickers of approval in the helmet or certification in the product information. Never wear an unapproved helmet since they may not offer any protection at all. Some standards include: CSA, CPSC, SNELL, CE, ASTM.
- Purpose: Before you buy an aero helmet, consider what you’ll be using it for. If you’ll be wearing it for long efforts, like half or full Ironman, you’ll need something that has more vents to keep you cool and comfortable. If it’s primarily for short time trial efforts you can sacrifice some vents, ear flap pressure, and other comfort features for speed.
- Fit: If an aero helmet doesn’t fit properly it won’t be aero or safe. A lot of aero helmets are only available in one or two sizes so always try them on before you buy. For a proper aerodynamic fit, the tail of the helmet should be flush with your back when you are in the time trial position. According to the Canadian Standards Association, when a helmet is on, it should be comfortable but it should not be able to move forwards, backwards, or come off. It should sit level on the head and the chin straps should be snug.
Sarah Bonner the author of a new e-article, The Clean Girl’s Guide to Cycling: How to Clean Everything from Bar Tape to Sports Bras, has lived and cycled in Canada, Africa, and Europe. Currently, she splits her time between the Netherlands and South Africa where she trains and competes at an amateur level. With a Masters in English and a Diploma in Sports Management, Sarah combines her love of writing and passion for cycling to share honest advice and inspiring stories. Follow her at sarahkimbonner.wordpress.com
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